CHICAGO: Angela Way, a former secretary at Hollinger International, had her fifteen minutes of fame in a Chicago courtroom earlier this week, courtesy of Lord Conrad Black's defense counsel Edward Genson.

Perhaps a showbiz director at heart, Genson cast the unimpeachable Ms Way in a key supporting role as the public reader of certain key minutes of H-Intl board meetings.

This she dutifully did, conveying to the court that - according to the minutes - the board had approved the payments to Black and his co-defendants of tens of millions of dollars in non-compete fees.

At the time of these transactions the H-Intl board included such stellar stalwarts as former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Richard N Perle, a one-time eminence gris in the Bush administration.

The prosecution insists, however, that these fees were the rightful property of H-Intl shareholders and had therefore been stolen by His Lordship and his colleagues.

This diversion of dollars, said the federal legal team, was engineered by funnelling the payments through the company's parent Hollinger Inc - controlled by Black through his privately-owned vehicle Ravelston Corporation Limited .

In doing this, the prosecution averred, the accused were able to annex a larger portion of the money for themselves because they owned a greater share of H-Inc than they did of H-Intl.

According to the minutes of one board meeting, directors agreed that the "2.5% allocated to non-compete agreements [from sale prices] was consistent with the amount of payments made for non-competition agreements in previous H-Intl transactions".

Black and his three co-defendants - former H-Intl counsel Mark Kipnis, John Boultbee and Peter Atkinson - all deny charges of fraud and racketeering.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff